A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers, Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, on Saturday alleged that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has printed Certificate of Returns in favour of Governor Nyesom Wike and other Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidates ahead of conclusion of elections in the state.
Eze also alleged that Governor Wike planned to unleash Neighbourhood Watch operatives on leaders of the APC in the state as well as use same outfit to cow Rivers people and prevent them from exercising their constitutionally guaranteed rights to express their views through peaceful protests.
He expressed sadness that the “compromised” Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the state, Obo Effanga, had continued to hold sway on the election affairs of the state, despite very glaring violations of the electoral processes by him and his unhidden bias for the PDP in the state.
A statement he signed said: “That Engr. Awara won the March 9 polls is not in doubt so any effort to act otherwise will be an exercise in futility and for Wike threatening to ban peaceful public demonstrations, knowing very well that Rivers people are determined to ensure that their votes for the incoming governor are not subverted, is a fallacy.
“Since the establishment of the Neighborhood Watch, the fake armed outfit of Governor Nyesom Wike, which was solely set up to prosecute his 2019 general polls agenda, Rivers state has not been the same as peace has eluded the people and nobody has since been able to sleep with the two eyes closed.
“It was with this outfit that Governor Wike stormed the Obio-Akpor collation centre to cart away electoral materials, kidnap electoral officials to the Rivers state Government House to alter and rewrite the results of the polls and plot to suspend the collation of results of the 9th March election, when it was clear that Governor Wike had lost the election.
“Two Nigerian Army officials, currently battling for their lives, were brutally shot at this event of Wike storming the collation centre and surprisingly most of the public affairs analysts discussing the Rivers state politics have not cared enough to mention these ugly incidents in their drive to paint the army and the Minister of Transportation in bad light.
“Nobody has cared to ask why the INEC REC suspended a peaceful collation of results that would have not brought Rivers state into the ugly limelight that it is currently, only just concerned with ensuring that Wike is sustained as the governor of Rivers state against the wishes of the people of the state.
Speaking on the ban of peaceful public protests by Governor Wike, Eze said the state government had erred in law, trying to restrain an action that had since been made legal and permissible by law.
“Public Order Act, Police permits is inconsistent with Section 39&40 of the Constitution if the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Art 11 of Africa Charter on Human and People’s Right Act (cap A9) LFN 2004.
“The Public Order Act, which requires permit for rallies is inconsistent with Fundamental Rights of Nigerians, freedom of assembly and expression’. The superior courts have said so in: ANPP vs. IGP(2008) 12 WRN 65,. HADIZA BALA vs. COP & Anor (unreported).
“We therefore caution Wike and his agents to ensure that no harm goes near the way of the incoming Governor as he has proven that he is beyond the purchasing powers of the outgoing Rivers state government,” he said.